ANT SPECIES

Lets talk about ant species!These will not be put in too much order,ill just write about what species i feel like writing about,and when im done writing ill wait a while until i feel like writing about another species.This will go from most recent writings to older writings

LEAFCUTTER ANTS (writing started April 6th 2022-finished April 8th 2022 )

Leafcutter ants are a very interesting ant species,one of the things that really make them stand out is the fact that they can cut up leaves (duh),stalks,and flowers,but not to eat like everyone always thinks for some reason,but to..farm fungus?yeah,fungus farming ants!cool right?Though they arent the only farming ants out there,theres another ant species called 'Apterostigma' ,also known as 'Fungus farming ants' who like the name implies,also farm for fungus,in a different way sure,but they still do it,theres even ants that farm for livestock..that isnt important right now though and i might get into that a whole lot later so lets just focus on the Leafcutters for now shall we..

How the ants cut leaves and carry them home

Now how do these ants cut through things?Well, according to powerful microscopes used by scientists, their mandibles are found to be lined with zinc atoms!Im no good at science like this,but from what i can see with a few google searches,zinc atoms are basically a type of natural brittle metal or something, i dont know and im pretty sure im wrong,but they make their mandibles sharp.Some may even say their mandibles are even sharper then a blade!some can even pierce through flesh if they wanted! These sharp mandibles help them harvest plants with ease and efficiency

The journey home+farming

once these ants have their leaves,or whatever else they decided to cut up, the next step for them is to take the valuables to their nest!The journey isnt easy though..sometimes the travel back (or forth) can take ant sized miiiles of travel, that, and sometimes small worker ants have to hitchback ride on the plants (being carried by bigger ants) inorder to make sure no potential pests get to it, they also have to be on the lookout for potential predators out to get them!

once they do get home though, they start on turning the leaves into fertilizer, they do this by combining it with their own waste to be turned into a compost pile, and with that compost pile comes growing fungus!to ensure the fungus stays growing and healthy, they make sure to collect only the plants that are good for it, make sure the fungus has all the nutrients it needs, and even carry antibiotics on their bodies to make sure the fungus doesn't rot or grow bacteria. Once the fungus has finally grown good enough for consumption , they eat it and even feed it to their own larvae!!Once they're done with that , they go out and do the same thing all over again.

pictured above:ants covered in antibiotics standing beneath fungus

funfacts

leafcutter ants have been farming for 50 million years already, way before humans even have

Leafcutter ants can carry 10,20,or even up to even 50 times its own weight..with only its teeth!!

Their nests are so large that even a adult human could stand inside it!!!

There are over 40 species of leafcutter ants

you may think that these ants might be ruining the enviornment by cutting all these trees leaves,but in reality,with these ants helping prune vegetation,they actually stimulate new plant growth and help the environment alongside it